For the longest time, I willed-and-worked to do what God wanted. I told myself, “I need to act better”, “God is not satisfied with me” and “I’ve gotta do more”. I felt shame and embarrassment at mistakes. It was as if other Christians were noticing that I was the one misfit. Each mistake was a crushing blow to my spirit. God’s requirements were like a nebulous ring in the sky; I could never reach high enough.
I couldn’t do enough.
These scriptures wagged at me like a chiding finger:
“If you love me, keep my commands (You don’t do this very well, Kelly, do you?)” (Jo. 14:15)
“By this we can be sure that we have come to know Him: if we keep His commandments (Kelly, how can you really be sure?)” (Jo. 1:3)
You are my friends if you do what I command (He has other friends besides you). (Jo. 15:14)
Am I really God’s friend? Why can’t I just do what He commands?
Maybe you feel this way today? Perhaps, you’ve made a scathing mistake. A horrible decision. You can’t do right. You’ve spoken words you can’t take back. You know you need to be with Jesus and share Jesus more.
Perhaps, it seems like God or people are saying, “You are not good enough.”
One verse set me free. I believe it will release you from all this pressure too. I believe it will relieve you. . . like it did for me. . .
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Phil. 2:13)
God gives you:
- The desire to do what pleases Him.
- The power to do it.
This is freedom!
All my good work is a work of God. All my obedience is sourced from Him. This means I don’t have to hard-drive myself into good-works. I come to Jesus. I love Jesus. I draw near Jesus. I hear Jesus. And, my nearness becomes His outpouring goodness — naturally, seamlessly, and easily.
Everything good from me — to them — is because of Him.
All glory, honor, and praise to the King, not to Kelly Balarie. Working-up good works produces insidious pride. But, letting Him do it through you — and because of Him — creates reliant humility.
If you have the overwhelming desire to love God more, to be near Him more and to do His will more, I would venture to say — that’s God working in you. Do not hate that. Embrace it. He is working in you. He is calling you His own. He is leading you in paths of goodness. He is helping you. He is equipping you.
Draw near and He will draw the best parts out of you so that you may follow His commands like — a friend, like a lover of Jesus and like one He knows. This is where the joy is.